When: Cocalico school board meeting, Aug. 3.
What happened: Citing higher-than-expected demand for in-person classes, the board voted unanimously to switch the district’s middle and high school students to a hybrid learning model when school resumes later this month. Officials updated a state-mandated health and safety plan to reflect the change to a scaffolded approach that requires two in-person days and three days of online learning for all secondary students. Elementary school students who choose an in-person option will still be in class five days a week, while a Virtual Academy option offers full-time online learning to students of all ages.
Why a change: Superintendent Ella Musser told LNP | LancasterOnline not enough parents of secondary students opted for remote learning to reduce class size significantly — meaning the district could not space desks the minimum 3 feet apart as recommended by the World Health Organization and local medical experts. By limiting attendance, schools can create smaller classes. Students with last names starting with A-L will be in school Monday and Tuesday, while those in the M-Z group will attend Thursday and Friday. All students will be online Wednesdays. Teachers will start each period with a task that connects both in-person and online learners, and attendance will be mandatory. Families are asked to commit to their plans by Aug. 11, with options to switch into in-person classes or to virtual learning around Columbus Day and the Thanksgiving break.
More details: Board members approved other revisions to the health and safety plan, which calls for schools to remain open even if Lancaster County moves back from green to yellow under Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 reopening approach. The plan now requires students and staff to wear masks in the school building and offers more specifics on sanitizing processes.